Cruise lines are cracking down on bringing alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and even bottled water on board at embarkation more and more these days. In the world of booze smuggling, there is no one certain rule to follow that will work every time. You have to kind of go with the flow and be prepared for anything. It’s a stealth operation to be sure but armed with the tools necessary, you can do this.
Dress for success– your college t-shirt, flip-flops and cutoffs screaming “party animal” may make you think you look cool/hot/older/younger. (No) To security personnel they say “Pat me down”. Wear your semi-casual-kinda-formal-night outfit and breeze through checkpoints undisturbed. It would help if you were also not intoxicated boarding the ship. Tailgating before the cruise is really not your best move here. You will need your wits about you to make this work.
Pack for success– There was once a notion that it was smart to take an extra suitcase for soft drinks and other “beverages” to be consumed on board. The idea was that empty space upon consumption gave extra room for souvenirs, towels, pillows, silverware and other items acquired along the way. News flash: a small suitcase that feels conspicuously heavy will get extra attention from security personnel.
A gift for you- I’ve done this a dozen times and it works. Gift wrap a case of Heineken or other premium beverage and just walk right on in with it. Dressed appropriately, it works. If anyone asks, the answer is “It’s a gift for the captain”. No one ever has.
Decoy bottles– Now think about this: Say all of the above did not work. You’re called to a special holding room once on the ship to claim your luggage because it has either an iron (huge fire hazard) or alcohol (huge profit hazard) in it, both things they don’t want on the ship.
In front of security personnel, you open the luggage as instructed and fish out whatever it is you’re not supposed to have. They don’t make you do that to teach you a lesson and humiliate you. That comes later when you’re standing around with a life jacket on a ship that is not sinking. They do that because they discovered your sinister profit-robbing plan via x-rays, voodoo or iron-sniffing dogs.
They don’t know exactly what you have in there, just that there’s something bad. Not bad enough to call the FBI but bad enough to make a big deal about it.
The trick is to place decoy bottles of booze (like the cheapest bargain wine you can find) close in the top or opening of your luggage, pull those out first. Then, briefly fake-rummage through the rest, pretending to dig deep but coming up empty and not finding any more. This may take some practice if you are not a naturally deceptive person.
(Little do they know you have a fine bottle of Scotch or French Champagne down in the bottom of that bag)
Really paranoid people sometimes watch for sales at Victoria’s Secret and add an eye catching lingerie item, in the original packaging, sporting little Miss Perfect Body as a backup distraction that can move things along too.
The point is to make it a quick, painless procedure and move along back to your cabin, contraband in hand. Your mind-set should be “I’m excited to be on this fine ship”. “I can’t wait to get back to the fun I am responsibly having.” “This is a minor inconvenience and no big deal”
Follow those tips and you will be breathing a sigh of relief and headed back to the real fun, strip poker with crew members in their restricted area, in no time.
Oh, one last point: The cruise line can kick you off the ship with no refund and no way home if they catch you doing this. Smuggle at your own risk.
Flickr photo by Ben Husmann